How to Get a Sri Lankan Visa for British Citizens

Your ultimate guide to understanding the Sri Lankan visa - officially called an ETA.

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In 2012, Sri Lanka introduced their new electronic entry system for short-term stays. While the country continues to be a destination that calls to British travellers year after year, many questions arise about which visa they need for travelling to this beautiful country. As always, we’ve compiled the ultimate guide on what a British traveller needs to know to enter Sri Lanka with confidence.

What are the visa requirements for United Kingdom citizens to Sri Lanka?

If you’re a British passport holder, you’ll need an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) to visit Sri Lanka for Tourism or Business. Your Sri Lankan ETA is valid for up to 30 days spent in Sri Lanka, allows you double entry into Sri Lanka, and is good to use for a total period of 3 months from the day the visa is issued.

If you hold another passport, you may also require an ETA, and you can find out on Sherpa’s home page.

 

What is an ETA?

ETA (Electronic Travel Authority) is an official authorization for a Short Visit to Sri Lanka and it is issued electronically. ETA holders will be issued a 30 day Short Visit visa at the port of entry in Sri Lanka. ETA visas are electronic. No stamp or label will be placed in your passport.

 

What are the types of Sri Lanka “short stay” ETAs?

Travellers visiting Sri Lanka for a short stay for following purposes must obtain ETA prior approval for their arrival:

  • ETA for Tourist purpose with double entry for 30 days
  • ETA for Business purpose with double entry for 30 days
  • ETA for a 2-day Transit through Sri Lanka

 

How do I apply for a visa for Sri Lanka?

The ETA is issued through an online system. No passport copies, documents or photographs are required. There is no requirement to endorse the ETA on the passport.

 

What do I have to do on arrival into Sri Lanka?

At the port of entry, you’ll need to have:

  • A passport valid for not less than 6 months from the date of arrival
  • Proof of a return ticket

Sri Lankan authorities also suggest that travellers be able to demonstrate that they have sufficient funds to meet their expenses during their stay. It’s also a good idea to keep a copy of the ETA approval with you to be produced at the port of entry in Sri Lanka. 

 

Where should I apply for a Sri Lanka visa (ETA)?

To apply for the official tourist ETA, you can begin your application with Sherpa on this landing page made just for Brits. Head here to get started.

 

Information about the Sri Lankan ETA Visa

 

How much does a visa for Sri Lanka cost?

For British passport holders, your ETA to Sri Lanka is 55 USD with Sherpa. This is about 41 pounds. We take care of all the heavy lifting so all you have to do it enter your information. Simple as that.

 

How long is the Sri Lanka visa valid for?

If you’re entering Sri Lanka for tourist or business purposes, your short stay ETA is valid for 30 days in Sri Lanka. If you’re entering on a Transit visa, your visa is valid for 2 days from the arrival date.

 

How many times can I enter Sri Lanka on my ETA visa?

If you’re entering Sri Lanka for tourist or business purposes, your short stay ETA allows you to enter Sri Lanka twice. This is called a “double entry” visa. If you’re entering on a Transit ETA, you can enter Sri Lanka only once.

 

What is the total validity of a Sri Lankan ETA?

The total validity of your Tourist and Business ETA is 3 months from the date of issue. Be sure to use your ETA for your trip during the time frame it is valid.

 

How long does it take to get a visa for Sri Lanka?

Getting a visa for Sri Lanka takes about 24 hours. Should you require faster processing, you can pay a slightly higher fee and we will be able to get your Sri Lankan ETA in as little as 15 minutes if absolutely urgent.

 

Do I have to book my trip before I apply for a Sri Lankan ETA?

No. Your ETA can be applied for, and even received, all before you even book your ticket. Simply know your estimated date of arrival.

 

How does the airline know that I have a valid visa to travel to Sri Lanka?

They don’t. Remember, having your ETA is not a necessary to board a flight/vessel to Sri Lanka.

 

Do I need a Sri Lankan ETA to visit family and friends?

Yes, if you’re travelling to Sri Lanka to visit family and friends, you’ll need an ETA.

 

Do I need to print my Sri Lankan ETA?

Although the ETA is linked to your passport, we recommend having a printed copy when you enter Sri Lanka.

 

Can I get a visa on arrival in Sri Lanka?

You could get a visa on arrival when you land in Sri Lanka, however, we strongly suggest against this – you will have to pay more money on arrival than you would applying for an ETA. Most importantly, getting your Sri Lankan ETA visa saves you the time and the worry before you leave. This means that you can enjoy the beach, and not have to worry about the bureaucracy.

 

Frequently Asked Questions about the Sri Lanka ETA

 

What if I live in UK and hold a different passport, do I need a visa for Sri Lanka?

If you live in the United Kingdom but hold a different passport (Irish, Pakistani, Indian, etc) you may still be eligible to apply for an ETA to Sri Lanka. You can find out what you need to travel by visiting our visa checker.

 

Do children need a visa for visiting Sri Lanka?

Yes, unless your children hold Sri Lankan passports, they will require ETAs to visit Sri Lanka. All travellers to Sri Lanka, regardless of age, require an ETA. If the children have their own passport, you should apply for a separate ETA for the child entering all the details from your child’s passport.

If the child is travelling on a parent’s passport, you still need a separate ETA, just apply using the parents’ passport details, but use the child’s name, date of birth, sex, country of birth as they appear on the passport.

 

If I already possess a valid ETA, can I apply for a new ETA again?

An ETA is valid for six months and a new ETA cannot be obtained using the same passport until that ETA expires.

 

Do I need a visa if I am on a cruise to Sri Lanka?

Yes, if you are on a cruise that visits Sri Lanka, you’ll need a Transit ETA. You can apply for yours here.

 

Can I apply for a new ETA visa if I am still in Sri Lanka?

You cannot obtain a new ETA while being in Sri Lanka irrespective of whether your ETA is valid or expired. You must leave Sri Lanka to re-apply.

 

How do I get a 3-month visa for Sri Lanka?

If you’re looking to stay in Sri Lanka for longer than 30 days, then you may apply for an extension. The Short Visit visa may be extended up to 90 days from the date of arrival at the first instance and another 90 days at the second instance. Application for an extension must be submitted to the Visa Section of the Department of Immigration (head office) by visiting the Department or through an Authorized Agent.

You can find more information here at the Government of Sri Lanka Immigration Site.
If your ETA application is not approved it will be referred to the nearest Sri Lanka Overseas Mission which you may contact for further assistance.

 

Do I need a visa to visit Sri Lanka?

You can check if you need a visa to visit Sri Lanka by clicking on our interactive visa checker.